Missile component sale suspended after Agni-III test: Kalam


Hassan (Karnataka) : President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Friday revealed that the sale of a critical missile component (PAN fibre) was suspended by Western suppliers to India after the successful launch of the nuclear capable Agni-III missile on April 12.

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The PAN-based fibres are the dominant class of structural carbon fibres used in military aircraft, missile and spacecraft structures.

Addressing space scientists and technologists at the Master Control Facility (MCF) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) here, about 200km from Bangalore, Kalam said economic and technological sanctions were imposed on three occasions since May 18, 1974, when India conducted the first nuclear test at Pokhran in Rajasthan.

"In 1973-74, when there was no MTCR (missile technology control regime) in place, India was denied Beryllium product by USA. In 1998, when India became a nuclear weapon state, economic and technological sanctions were imposed.

"Recently, when Agni-III was successfully launched, PAN fibre sale to India has been suspended," Kalam said after dedicating the Insat-4B communication satellite to the nation Friday.

Admitting that marketing the launch services from India was becoming a challenging task in a competitive environment of space world, Kalam said a nation that supplies few components to the spacecraft had a say in their choosing the service provider.

"All these cases bring out the need for the Indian scientific and technological establishments to launch an integrated national mission for building national technological strength backed by basic science research.

"Unique products of India thus realised will be sought after by many nations, even nations who deny technology and products. It is a great challenge for the ISRO young scientists," Kalam exhorted.

India test-fired its most powerful nuclear capable Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) from the Interim Test Range at Wheeler's island in the Bay of Bengal off the Orissa coast April 12.

The indigenously developed two-stage, all-solid fuel, 16-metre-long missile weighing 48 tonnes was blasted off from a fixed platform with the help of an auto launcher in the launch complex-4 of the ITR, in Orissa.

The surface-to-surface missile has a strike range of over 3000km and a capacity to carry a payload of 1.5 tonnes. With it, India joined a select group of nations to field missiles of inter-continental reach.